I’m someone who loves exercise and fitness. When I was in college, I even did a powerlifting competition one time. It was totally awesome. I showed up at this gym that looked like it had been pulled straight out of Arnold Schwarzenegger's living room, and the guy who owned it was wearing zebra hammer pants and white high top shoes. Everything about it screamed OLD SCHOOL. Oh, I loved it. It was such an awesome experience, and because I was so big into weightlifting in college, one of my goals was to be able to do the bench for one rep with a 45 pound plate on each side. I guess I thought it would look cool? I’m really not that cool. Trust me; just ask the people who know me. Anyway, I set a goal for myself, and it took me a number of weeks of training and preparation, proper rest and nutrition. As my strength began to grow, I decided to go for it, so I threw those 45 pound plates on each side, grabbed a friend to spot me and went for it. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it!
Our growth in ministry is a lot like my preparation to hit my goal of bench pressing those two 45 pound plates. The reason it took me a number of weeks was because in order for my strength to grow, I had to give my muscles ample rest. Without sufficient rest I would over exhaust the muscle, which actually puts my muscles in what’s called a catabolic stage. This is the opposite of what I wanted to have happen.
I would like to suggest that many of our lives and ministries are in a catabolic stage, because we are not giving our lives the proper amount of rest. I’m not talking about the grab a bowl of popcorn, throw up your feet and watch 14 hours of Netflix kind of rest that’s just laziness. I’m talking about the life giving rest that is found in being with the Father. Imagine with me for a moment that God’s Word is like the nutrition that feeds our body during those seasons of rest to help us grow. Naturally, as I trained properly for my goal of maxing out at 135 pounds, my muscles grew. The same happens when you and I take a step back and make rest, Scripture reading and prayer a part of our daily routine.
The book of Isaiah says this, “In returning and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and trust shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). As ministry workers, we cannot thrive without rest. This past summer I learned an acronym that I have found to be very helpful when it comes to incorporating rest into my life. It’s a simple acronym taken from the word, “selah.” This is a Hebrew word that means to pause or give praise.
The acronym looks a little something like this.
Stop what you’re doing, quiet your soul before the Lord. Exhale in stillness before Him. Listen to what He’s trying to speak to your heart. Ask Him what He desires most from you and Hear His words in the quietness of sitting in His presence.
Once you start incorporating more SELAH into your life, you’ll find that you’re able to give more towards your ministry, because God has poured His goodness into your life.